Tuesday, July 28

Final Paper --->

In the links menu, you can find the link to download my Final Paper, "What is Lost", or just follow this link. It's in .doc format, Mac and PC friendly.

Monday, June 1


The New Yorker, August 6, 2007

Consummated. My final paper, essentially the culmination of what I’ve learned over the course of this project, is finished (a little late, but much the better for it). It covers a slew of topics from my notebook and readings. Among them:

Frogs, Bd and habitat Loss; Bats, WNS and habitat loss; Bees and CCS; Holocene Extinction and the 5 Big Extinctions; language death and ethnocide; Oryx and Crake; Arks, Svalbard Seed Vault, El Valle and Zoos; megafauna; post-apocalyptic novels; man-made extinction; partulid land snails; modern technology and exploration; the internet; new species; old species; the hydrosphere; anthropology and Mark Twain; epibatidine; immortality; mortality; “The March of Time” a la Tom Stoppard's Arcadia; impermanence; “Benjamin”; the Golden Toad; and Kermit the Frog.

Saturday, May 30

Ideas from Notebook, IX

"Heart of the Andes" by Frederic Edwin Church

I went to both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Museum of Natural History while I was in New York City today. Limited time makes everything here seem to be of even greater proportion than the reality. The weekend outing was rewarding and frustrating in equal measure because of this, and meanwhile my notebook filled at a furious rate. I saw the modern art, neoclassical sculpture, and American landscape painting at the Met; the halls of biodiversity and ocean life, and the temporary exhibition on frogs – perfectly timed to open today and provide further material for my paper on extinction and preservation – at AMNH. Overall spectacular. The day was, as a whole, a boon to the senior project (which ended yesterday, I suppose) and general independent study (which will continue hereon). I just wish the promised WiFi on this Megabus were working so that I could watch TED talks on the way home. Without further ado:

Kermit the (oft-singing) Frog; iconography and iconoclasm; religious spaces in modern and classical imaginings; Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s “Ugolino and his Sons”; nationalist art; Edward Hopper; Georgia O’Keeffe, “From the Faraway, Nearby”; Charles Sheeler, “Americana,” and “Water”; The Wyeths; the Brandywine Museum; Norman Rockwell’s “Town Meeting”; Stephen Hannock; Pablo Picasso, “Dying Bull,” “Man with Lollipop”; Georges Braque, “Woman Carrying a Basket of Fruit”; Prestel, Skira, Abrams; Thomas Cole; Albert Bierstadt, “The Rocky Mountains, Lander’s Peak”; Frederic Edwin Church, “The Heart of the Andes” (i.e. the most impressive painting I have ever seen); Asmat ‘bis’ and death mythology; museums and the urge to touch – physical interaction with art or ancient works; Elephant ecology – a complicated web; luciferin; aestivation; North American wood frog; diamond mining; DeBeer’s; sustainable new growth forests and fisheries; coelacanth; Phyllobates frogs; Phantasma frog and epibatidine; Project Golden Frog; “Rough Guide to Climate Change”; “The Complete Walker”.

Friday, May 29


A postscript of thoughts on economic botany, Israel and nationalism from my talk with Mr. Nicolai and a longer piece on extinction (in many forms, of many things) and preservation are forthcoming. I will be in New York City tonight and tomorrow (hopefully seeing museums) and posts on that will be up soon as well.

Ideas from Notebook, VIII: Final Official Day

Dale Chihuly, "Flame of Liberty"

Today was interesting. The last official day of project – though I have no intention of ending my independent study in what is essentially the art of living intellectually – found me at the National Liberty Museum downtown. My time there was limited by the increased prices of parking meters and the PPA (whom I literally caught stalking my meter later in the day). Already in debt and bereft of money on hand, I came out of the day with a $41 ticket that I had taken every precaution not to get, all of which were defeated by a faulty meter. The aggravation they have caused me in the past is unbelievable. I already have a court date for June to protest an absurd $50 allegation that I was parked in a no-stopping zone. But anyway.

The National Liberty Museum is fairly new, with three stories of exhibits combining both art and information, all dedicated to espousing equality, peace and acceptance. The centerpiece of the meseum is an immense piece of red glasswork by Dale Chihuly entitled “Flame of Liberty” (the top of which can be seen above), which has an accompanying fable created by the museum for children, its main audience. The messages of non-violence and the inalienability of human rights struck a cord. The museum covers the spectrum of oppressions, discrimination, despotism and atrocities through time, along with tributes to 2,000 great heroes (both American and 400 internationals of myriad countries and cultures) and contributors towards peace; the debunking of stereotypes and assumptions; messages of peace and non-violence; and a survey of religious beliefs. Much of it was emotionally affecting. Most of all so was the stairwell, in itself a multi-story memorial to the 3,014 victims of September 11th. This moved me deeply, from the “silent” video of raw, powerful footage of that day, to the photomosaic of servicemen killed in action. Something about the museum really assesses the core aspirations and mission of the United States as a whole – it encapsulates the lofty standards to which democracy ought to be held. It is stark in its recounting of horrors past, reporting of current ones, and those possible in the future, but moreover hopeful and powerful in its message of belief. While I wish it hadn’t cost me $50 (only $5, of course, to the museum), I am glad I went. That being said, I felt nothing short of bullied by the PPA to abandon my plans of going next door to the Museum of Chemical Heritage, and then to the Museum of Contemporary Art. These will have to wait.

From the Notebook:

Parsifal and the Spear of Destiny; Wagner; Vavilov centers; Carol Peace Robins’ “Modern Ark”; Bergman’s Rule; Cope’s Rule; Cesar Chavez; The Four Chaplains; “Benjamin”, last of the thylacines; Gray Panthers; Kissinger; Ralph Bunche; GMO wheat and Norman Borlaug; Linus Pauling; Nobel Prize; “Freedom”, painting by Cao Yong; “Jerusalem”, metalwork by Frank Meisler; Is fully secular statehood good?; American Islamic Congress; $14,434: the average cost of treating a gunshot; Andrei Sakharov and Natan Sharansky; Anwar Sadat; Maximilian Kolbe; “In the last decade, 50,000 children were killed by firearms – the same number of American casualties in the entire Vietnam war.”; Sempo Sugihara; Missionaries of Charity; ongoing famine in North Korea; Robles and De-nuclearized South America; Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (Wizard of the Crow); South American Anti-War Pact.

“God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thursday, May 28

Costa Rican Golden Toad

The Golden Toad, Bufo periglenes, of Costa Rica has been extinct since 1989.

Ideas from Notebook, VII

Working without the internet, I’ve developed a bit of a backlog on my blogspace. I have been writing on several topics, speaking with teachers and, mostly, reading materials. Though they are not public domain, I procured several New Yorker articles in digital format for my own benefit and citation, along with other web resources now linked on the sidebar. As always, I have been keeping my notebook – here is the most recent batch of notes:

Deglobalization and Daimler(Chrysler), “Branded Nationalism”; Moore’s Law; Aung San Suu Kyi and John William Yettaw; Kilcullen’s “anthropological approach to thinking about war” in Afghanistan; problems of nuclear power; “nuclear renaissance”; Nueva Germania; Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; Stockpile Stewardship program; United States’ 12.8 million acres of cotton; “Religulous”; perfect numbers; infinity; Fermat numbers; heuristics; four-dimensionality; “inventor’s paradox”; Elizabeth Kolbert (“Field Notes from a Catastrophe”); lebensraum; reconciliation; the Holocaust; Israel – land vs. ideology; regional instabilities and political interplay; “Entebbe model”; oral history; Hebrew as once-dead – lingual resurrection; information repositories; Ostara.